How To Design A High-Performing Charitable Gift Program, Based On Our Data

Charitable gift cards are an increasingly popular way to show your appreciation for employees. Sometimes, though, they need a nudge to redeem their gifts. Here’s what works, according to GlobalGiving data.


Have you ever opened your wallet, only to find the gift cards you received last year wedged in the back?

Whether you’re sending eCards or physical gifts, inboxes and wallets alike are crowded spaces. For those companies thinking of sharing the gift of giving, we’re sharing ways you can boost engagement, excitement, and redemption rates among employees. Here’s what we know about charitable gift card success from data on GlobalGiving’s gift card programs:

    1. A heads-up makes a difference.

    When employees expect the gift card, redemption rates are higher (so communication is key). Advertising experts say a message should be delivered at least three times for it to be remembered. Be sure to communicate in different channels to ensure that employees see your reminders. Here are a few ideas:

    • Include an announcement about the gift in an all-staff meeting.
    • Share communications telling folks what to expect before sending the gift.
    • Write about your gift program in a company newsletter, in Slack channels, or on workplace social media.

    2. Leadership speaks volumes.

    When a CEO or other company leader announces the program via company email or at an event, redemption rates are higher. In addition to sharing your message widely, working with company leaders to send announcements and reminders lets your recipients know that your gift card program is an important part of your organization’s culture. Ask someone from your C-suite to send a personalized email or make an announcement at an organization-wide meeting.

    3. People need reminders.

    About $3 billion worth of gift cards go unused each year, CNBC reports. As with anything, folks often need a little nudge to redeem charitable gift cards. According to GlobalGiving data, redemption rates increase by about 10% with the first reminder. Give your charitable gift recipients a gentle nudge by sending them a reminder email, making an announcement at a team meeting, or asking your gift card provider to resend the eCards to those who have not yet redeemed theirs.

    4. Seeing collective impact is powerful.

    Employees appreciate the opportunity to see the collective impact of your gift, especially when sharing it becomes the expectation for your annual program. Request a final redemption report once your gift cards expire (included with offline GlobalGiving Gift Card orders) and share widely. Let your recipients know that, together, they supported many different countries and charitable projects.

    5. Generosity is appreciated.

    Gift cards with higher values are more likely to be redeemed. For example, $10 GlobalGiving Gift Cards have a 23% redemption rate, while redemptions of those purchased for $250 or higher climb to 73%. Further, we’ve noticed that gifts in multiples of 10, such as $20, $30, and $40, have higher redemption rates and redeemer satisfaction. See a snapshot below:

    GlobalGiving Gift Card Redemption Rate by Gift Value

    6. Email is effective.

    We find cards sent via email are more than twice as likely to be redeemed than physical gift cards. Not only are eCards more sustainable than physical gifts, they also don’t run the risk of getting lost or damaged. Your employees can save their eCard in their inbox for when they’re ready to redeem, and you can feel good about choosing an eco-friendly gift that’s more likely to be used.

    7. Personalization pays off.

    Custom gift cards have the highest redemption rates. Just as receiving company swag like sweatshirts and water bottles can boost morale, branded gift cards can make employees feel like part of a team that’s invested in giving back. GlobalGiving’s custom eCards have an 83% redemption rate—almost double that of standard gift cards. If you want to take it a step further, create a specific name for your program to make it even more memorable and enticing. Here are some that we love:

    Most importantly, our data shows that folks appreciate the gift of giving!

    Ready to launch your own gift card program with GlobalGiving?


    Featured Photo: Education Programmes for Kids &Teachers, Cape Town by Children's Helpers Worldwide

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